Exploring Gamification: Why?

What is gamification?

Gamification is the application of game-based design features and techniques to non-game scenarios.  Often these features are inspired by video games but that isn’t always the case.

Why are we looking into gamification?

Engaging students can be challenging particularly for:

  • early, late or long (3 hour) classes
  • non-program or non-interest courses (required electives)
  • students lacking intrinsic motivation in the material or evaluation deliverables
  • courses that students do not value within a program of study
  • large classes
Yassay / Pixabay


Students that are engaged tend to have higher levels of academic success which is in-turn often tied to increased program and institution-level student retention.


Gamification can:

  • provide extrinsic motivation
  • a sense of student agency over their learning
  • promote simple positive behavioural modification


Gamification is popular in primary and high school grades but less-so in post-secondary education.  It’s not entirely clear why more post-secondary instructors aren’t using gamification but it does appear to be gaining popularity.

StartupStockPhotos / Pixabay

Bottom line: Gamification can impact student engagement and motivation.


Note: gamification should be used in conjunction with, not as a replacement for, solid pedagogical practices.

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